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What You'll Need
While a whole roasted turkey is an impressive sight, so is a well-arranged platter of sliced meat -- and carving the bird before placing it on the table will make serving easier.
To prepare for carving, have the following equipment ready:
Warm serving platter
Pair of kitchen scissors
Flexible and sharp 10-inch slicing knife (a serrated blade will tear the meat)
Carving fork for arranging and serving the meat
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Step 1: Preparation
Before carving the turkey, let it stand at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes to allow the juices to saturate the meat; then transfer the turkey from the roasting pan or presentation platter to a carving board (use layers of paper towels or two clean kitchen towels to protect your hands from the heat). The best way to hold the turkey steady is to use your hand -- a carving fork doesn't provide the same grip and will pierce and tear the flesh.
Next, cut through the trussing with scissors, taking care to remove all of the string.
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Step 2: Remove Drumsticks
Remove the drumsticks first. Place the knife against the thigh, and cut down to expose the leg's second joint.
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Step 3: Sever Drumsticks
Apply pressure at the joint with the knifepoint; twist the knife, and cut through to sever the drumstick. Repeat with the other drumstick.
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Step 4: Slice Neck Cavity
Slice open the neck cavity with an oval incision that allows you to remove the stuffing while leaving the skin intact.
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Step 5: Scoop Stuffing
Use a long-handled spoon to scoop out the stuffing from the body cavity; transfer it to a serving bowl.
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Step 6: Slice Thigh Meat
Slice the thigh meat from the bone (the dark meat should be tender from resting in the juices).
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Step 7: Slice Breast
Place the knife horizontally at the bottom curve of the bird's breast, and slice in toward the rib cage to create a "guide cut." Then make a slice from the top down alongside the rib cage. Be sure to cut carefully.
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Step 8: Create Slices
Cut vertically through the breast meat to create medallion slices, being careful to preserve some of the skin on each slice. Repeat steps 6 and 7 on the other side of the breast.
Place the knife at the first wing joint; insert the knifepoint, and twist it to sever the wing. Repeat with the other wing.
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Martha explains the best way to get the most meat from your Thanksgiving bird.